Illinois became the final state to allow gun owners to carry
concealed firearms in public. The Tuesday vote in both chambers of
the state legislature overrode a veto by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
(D), who pushed for tougher restrictions on where concealed weapons
are allowed, among other measures.
The vote now sets in motion a six-month period for state police
officials and the legislature to determine permitting procedure, as
well as make clarifications to the law such as exactly where guns
are banned or what defines proper concealment.
It will cost about $25 million to establish and operate a system
that will process conceal-carry applications, Illinois State Police
say. About 300,000 residents are expected to apply.
Governor Quinn had tried to get lawmakers to prohibit concealed
weapons in establishments that serve alcohol. That was struck down,
along with his proposal to limit to one the number of handguns a
person could carry simultaneously.
As the law stands, private property owners, along with
businesses, can prohibit concealed guns on their premises, although
rules for obtaining the proper signage are not yet established.
Also, guns will not be allowed in schools, libraries, parks, and
mass-transit buses and trains.
The bill is the result of a ruling last December by the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago saying that the existing ban on
conceal-carry weaponry in public was unconstitutional. The state was
given 180 days to craft a law legalizing conceal-carry. That
deadline passed June 9, but the state was given a 30-day extension
to pass the law.
If the state had not acted by Tuesday, default legislation would
have taken hold, but up until the deadline, the state was allowed to
impose certain restrictions.
Some lawmakers criticized Quinn for waiting until the 11th hour
to veto the bill because they said more time would have allowed for
a more productive debate on the issue.
Quinn released a statement late Tuesday that the legislature
"surrendered to the National Rifle Association ... and passed a
flawed bill ...." He added, "Public safety should never be
compromised or negotiated away."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as Quinn, used a recent surge
in violence in the city - 74 people were wounded and 12 killed by
gun violence over the four-day Fourth of July weekend - to say that
more, not less, gun restrictions are necessary.
"Having effective gun control is essential for providing safety
throughout the city," he told reporters Tuesday.
Next Wednesday, the Chicago City Council is holding a special
session to pass measures that would strengthen its existing
ordinance banning the sale, transfer, and possession of assault
weapons and high-capacity magazines. …